ASWC has taken a big step toward a sustainable renewable energy policy for Whitman, passing a resolution that would encourage the campus to add solar panels to new campus roof installations.
Passed on October 29th, the resolution stipulates that any time a roof on campus is renovated, or a new roof is constructed, the college must consider a bid to install a solar panel on the roof. Additionally, the school would be required to identify three existing roofs that would be ideal for solar panels and consider bids on them as well. The resolution aims to decrease the amount of on-campus carbon emissions stemming from the campus’ reliance on fossil fuels.
According to ASWC Sustainability Chair Genean Wrisley, “Walla Walla is actually a good location for solar, which surprises some people because it’s cloudy a lot. But during the summer… [the panels] generate a lot of electricity. So it’s… pretty good, easy and cheap, and rooftop solar is just, like, really accessible.”
Currently, Whitman relies on RECs (Renewable Energy Credits) to decrease the impact of its emissions. These credits fund wind farms in other areas, but don’t affect the campus’ actual use of fossil fuels. The ASWC resolution puts a bit more onus on Whitman to take the initiative in decreasing its own environmental impact.
The campus seems likely to respond well to ASWC’s resolution, and Wrisley is hopeful. Even before the resolution was passed, Whitman’s new residence hall was to be constructed with rooftop solar panels installed. But the resolution does not require the campus to accept solar panels, only consider them.
“[I]t’s up to them to take the next step,” Wrisley said. “Hopefully, slowly, implementation will happen, but… it’s kind of hard to say or know.”